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THEODORE WENDEL 

An American Impressionist 

1859-1932 




BIOGRAPHY 



1859 July 19, born Midway, Ohio, son of Carl 
Daniel Wendel. 
1876-77 Studied art at University of Cincinnati's 
School of Design (later known as The Art 
Academy). 
1878-79 Studied at Royal Academy, Munich, where 
he won a medal. 
1879 Joined Frank Duveneck's class ("Duveneck's 
Boys") at Polling, Germany. 
1(879-81 With the class to Florence in winters, Venice 
in summers. Met Whistler in Venice. Did his 
first etchings. 
1881 Probably returned to U.S. 
1883-84 In Newport, Rhode Island, sharing studio 
with Kenyon Cox. 
1885 or '86 To Paris; studied briefly at Academic Julien. 
1886-87 Summers at Givcrny; met Monet; winters in 
Paris. Did his first Impressionist paintings. 
1888 Returned to U.S. 
1889-90 In Newport. May have revisited Europe in 

1890-91. 
1892-97 In Boston at 239 Pleasant Square. Taught at 
Cowles Art School and Wellcsley College. 
1897 Married Philena Stone. 
1897-99 Wedding trip to France and Italy. Daughter 
Mary born Venice, 1 897. 




Theodore Wcndel (detail) by Frank Dtivencck. Location unknown. 

1899 Settled on farm at Ipswich, Massachusetts. 
Son Daniel born. Lived there rest of his life, 
but kept a studio in Boston for some years. 

1909 Won Sesnan Medal at Pennsylvania Acad- 
emy of the Fine Arts. 

1915 Won silver medal at Panama-Pacific Inter- 
national Exposition, San Francisco. One-man 
exhibition at Guild of Boston Artists. 

1917 Illness. Less painting thereafter. 

1932 December 19, died at Ipswich. 



This exhibition was made possible with funds pro- 
vided by the Historic Art Associates of the Whitney 
Museum for documenting and presenting American 
art oj the past. 



INTRODUCTION 



In February 1975, the writer received an 
answer to a letter written thirty-seven years 
earlier. Signed Daniel S. Wendcl, it said in part: 
"When your letter of October 25, 1937, was 
sent to Theodore Wendcl (my father) in Ipswich, 
Mass., he had recently died and in moving his 
things some papers were put in my barn, among 
them your letter. The papers became lost among 
bits of panelling and other remnants of old 
houses which I had saved. . . They have only 
now come to light." 

Thus began the long delayed research started 
when I was curator at the Brooklyn Museum. It 
has finally led to the present showing of Theo- 
dore Wendel's work — his first one-man exhibi- 
tion in a museum — and to the forthcoming arti- 
cle "Introducing Theodore Wendcl" (Art in 
America, November-December, 1976). 

Except for Mary Cassatt, who had allied her- 
self with the French Impressionists by 1878, 
Wendcl was indeed one of the first to adopt the 
new style. He and John Leslie Brcck met Claude 
Monet at Giverny in 1886, and were both in- 
fluenced by him. They were followed there dur- 
ing the next three years by Theodore Robinson, 
John Singer Sargent, Willard Metcalf, Theodore 



Earl Butler and Lilla Cabot Perry. Wendel's 
first Impressionist paintings of 1886-87 precede 
theirs. All arc Giverny subjects — meadows, 
farms, streams and willows. Gently lyrical in 
feeling, they are less brilliant technically than the 
French master's work (true of all the Americans) 
but create their own very genuine poetry. 

Back in America, Wendcl refined his art, ex- 
perimenting with freer handling and higher 
color — perhaps in response to the character of 
American light and atmosphere. Some of his 
most successful canvases were painted in Ipswich 
between 1900 and 19 15. A serious illness in 19 17 
brought his painting career virtually to a close, 
although a few interesting works were produced 
later. 

During his lifetime Wendcl enjoyed some 
fame: he won medals at several large exhibitions, 
had a two-man show with Theodore Robinson 
at a Boston gallery and a one-man show at the 
Guild of Boston Artists. But a national reputa- 
tion eluded him, and since his death his work has 
fallen into deeper obscurity. It seems time to look 
again at these intimate small paintings, so fresh in 
light and color, and to reevaluate their creator. 

JOHN I. H. BAUR 



CHECKLIST 

All dimensions arc given in inches, height pre- 
ceding width. 

1. Venice, 1881. oil on canvas, 5 x 13. Mr. 
and Mrs. Daniel S. Wendcl. 

2. Farm Scene, 1886. oil on canvas, 13% x 
22. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S. Wendcl. 

3. Girl with Turkeys, 1886. oil on canvas, 
23 % x 28 Vs . Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S. Wendcl. 

4. Giverny Farm, c. 1886. oil on canvas, 
15 x 18. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S. Wendcl. 

5. Brook, Giverny, 1887. oil on canvas, 
28 V 2 x 3 5 V 2 . Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S. Wendcl. 

6. Willoivs, c. 1887. OIL ON WOOD PANEL, 
13 % x i6 7 /s. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S. Wendcl. 

7. Pollards, c. 1887. oil on canvas on wood 
panel, 14 V 2 x 11%. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S. 
Wendcl. 

8. Apples, c. 1890 (?). oil on canvas, 20V2 
x 23. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S. Wendcl. 

9. Woman Reading, c. 1895. oil on canvas 
on wood panel, 20% x 14%. Mr. and 
Mrs. James R. Marsh. 

10. Gloucester, 1892-96. oil on canvas on 
wood panel, 17% x 29%. Mr. and Mrs. 
Daniel S. Wendcl. 

11. Girl by the Sea, 1894-96. oil on canvas, 
8% x 18. Mr. and Mrs. James R. Marsh. 

12. Portrait of the Artist' s Wife, c. 1897. oil on 
canvas, 1 1 '/ 4 x 9V4 . Mr. and Mrs. James R. 
Marsh. 

13. The Butterfly Catchers, 1906. oil on can- 
vas, 26'/ 8 x 36V8. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S. 
Wendcl. 



14. The Marsh, c. 1906. oil on canvas, 17 
x 25. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S. Wendcl. 

15. Bridge at Ipswich, c. 1908. oil on canvas, 
24% x 30. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S. Wendcl. 

16. The Lower River, Ipswich, c. 1908. oil on 
canvas, 301/2 x 37'/2. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel 
S. Wendcl. 

17. Winter Scene, 1912-14. oil on canvas, 
24 !/ 2 x 30 3 /t. Mr. and Mrs. James R. Marsh. 

18. Haying, Ipswich, c. 1914. oil on canvas, 
29% x 40. Mr. and Mrs. James R. Marsh. 

19. Pitching Hay, 1912-15. oil on canvas, 
25% x 32 %. Mr. and Mrs. James R. Marsh. 

20. Haying, 1912-15. oil on canvas, 24 x 32. 
Vosc Galleries of Boston. 

21. Winter on die Upper Farm, c. 1925. OIL on 
canvas, 30Y2 x 361/4. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel 
S. Wendcl. 

22. Canal Scene with Figures, 1881. etching, 
9 1/4 x 7 (plate). Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S. 
Wendcl. 

23. Palazzo, Venice, 1881. etching, 10% x 6% 
(plate). Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S. Wendcl. 

24. Canal San Biaggio, Venice, 1882. etching, 
10 x 6% (plate). Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S. 
Wendcl. 

Whitney Museum of American Art 
945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street 
New York, N. Y. 10021 
Telephone (212) 794-0600 

October 16-December 5, 1976 

Cover: Bridge at Ipswich, c. 1908. 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S. Wendcl.